Equal Opportunity

The Peace Corps is committed to providing equal opportunity to all employees, Volunteers, and applicants for employment and Volunteer service.

Peace Corps policy prohibits discrimination and harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age (40 or over), disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, parental status, political affiliation, union membership, genetic information, or history of participation in the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) process, grievance procedure, or any authorized complaint procedure.

The Peace Corps’ success in embracing and leveraging the diversity of its employees and Volunteers is central to its goal of promoting a greater understanding of Americans throughout the world through the reflection of America's diversity. The Peace Corps invites you to join our agency as we continue to help fulfill the realization of a fully inclusive workplace where everyone's abilities and skills are appreciated. If you are an employee or applicant and you believe you have been discriminated against and/or harassed, federal regulations require that agencies provide for the counseling of aggrieved employees and applicants and for the prompt, fair, and impartial processing of complaints of discrimination or harassment. More details on the program and the process are below.

Discrimination complaints

Discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age (40 or over), disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, parental status, political affiliation, union membership, genetic information, or history of participation in the EEO process, grievance procedure, or any authorized complaint procedure is prohibited in the federal government. Federal regulations require that agencies provide for the counseling of aggrieved employees and applicants and for the prompt, fair, and impartial processing of complaints of discrimination.

Claims of discriminatory treatment are handled through the Office of Civil Rights and Diversity. The informal complaint process provides an opportunity to resolve complaints through counseling or through an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process. Claims that are not resolved through counseling or ADR can be filed as formal complaints and proceed through the formal EEO complaint process.

EEO counseling program

The first step for an employee, employee applicant, Volunteer applicant, trainee, or Volunteer who believes that the Peace Corps has discriminated against him/her on one of the bases listed above is to consult with the Office of Civil Rights and Diversity. A collateral duty EEO counselor will be assigned to work with the aggrieved person through the informal counseling process.

The Peace Corps has collateral duty EEO counselors throughout the organization, in the headquarters office, and in the regional recruitment offices, to serve Peace Corps staff and applicants in the United States and overseas.

The role of the EEO counselor is to act as a bridge between the aggrieved person and management to seek informal resolution of matters, which could give rise to a formal complaint of discrimination. The EEO counselor does not act as an investigator, an advocate for management or the complainant, or as a judge of the merits of the allegation(s).

The Office of Civil Rights and Diversity will provide an opportunity for complaints by staff at headquarters to be resolved through the ADR process. The ADR process is an informal, voluntary process for complaints to be resolved through mediation and settlement rather than litigation.

Formal complaint process

If an allegation of discrimination is not resolved through counseling or through the ADR process, the aggrieved person has the right to file a formal complaint of discrimination. The complaint must be submitted in writing and be signed by the complainant. The complaint may be delivered in person or submitted by mail to the EEO manager of the Peace Corps Office of Civil Rights and Diversity.

The complaint is reviewed for compliance with procedural guidelines, such as timeliness, and to determine if the allegation(s) are within the purview of equal opportunity laws. If the complaint meets these requirements, it is then assigned to an independent investigator.

The role of the investigator is to collect factual information concerning the issues in the complaint and to prepare an investigative report. If the complaint is not settled or the complainant is not satisfied with the results of the investigation, the individual has the right to request a final agency decision or hearing from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Complaint procedure

  1. If you feel you have experienced discrimination, please take the following steps:
  2. Contact the Office of Civil Rights and Diversity within 45 calendar days of the date of the incident that is the cause of your complaint if you are an employee or employee applicant; trainees, Volunteers, and Volunteer applicants should contact a counselor within 60 calendar days.
  3. During the next 30 calendar days, the counselor will attempt to help you resolve your complaint, or
  4. Headquarters staff may use the ADR program.
  5. If your complaint is not resolved through counseling within 30 days, or through ADR, you have 15 calendar days from the date of your final interview with the EEO counselor to file a formal complaint.

Contact information

Peace Corps
Office of Civil Rights and Diversity
1111 20th Street NW
Washington, DC 20526
ocrd@peacecorps.gov
202.692.2139